Outreach

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TReND volunteers run outreach events to inspire students, teachers, and scientists about science, educate the public about the basic concept of brain-related disorders and enlighten decision makers about science for better science policies.

Science capacity building is essential for effective long-term international development. Neuroscience is particularly relevant because low-income countries have a greater burden of neurological disorders. Moreover, in Sub-Saharan Africa, cultural and religious misconceptions about neuroscience are highly prevalent. In Africa, public education and awareness in Neuroscience is not widespread – partly owing to a near complete absence of neuroscience in the syllabus of schools. Science policies and funding are oftentimes inadequate due to the lack of dialogue between decision-makers and scientists. Many science teachers do not employ innovative teaching approaches, and many students never develop a passion for science. TReND seeks to meet these challenges through outreach activities, motivating young students and scientists to pursue a career in neuroscience, invigorating the passion for science in teachers and promoting their hands-on teaching skills and increasing science awareness to lawmakers for better science policies and funding. To date, we have run several dozens of outreach events in several countries, most notably including Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, and Tanzania. Our events have reached 1,000s of students, teachers, and parents.

Recruitment of Volunteers

Local volunteers with interest to contribute to generating science awareness on the African continent are recruited all year round and encourage to run future outreach events in their respective regions. If you want to run an event in your area and think we might help, please send an email to Mahmoud (M.Bukar-Maina@sussex.ac.uk)

Upcoming Events

Science Festival in Yobe State, Nigeria. Date TBC

Science Festival in Bauchi State, Nigeria. Date TBC

Past Events

Entebbe, Uganda (2017) – In this outreach, students from six schools in Entebbe were introduced to fun activities used in the laboratories to study the brain in health and diseases. See published news

Gombe, Nigeria (2017) – Science Festival. See published news and detailed report of this activity.

Damaturu, Nigeria (2017) – Studying Alzheimer’s disease in a dish. See detailed report of this activity

Lagos, Nigeria (2017) – Exploring the with Alzheimer’s disease. See published news on the outreach.

Zurich, Switzerland (2016) – TReND at Maker Faire, Zurich

Zaria, Nigeria (2016) – Making Science Fun in the Classroom: Exposing young science students to science concepts.” See published report on Biochemical Society website

Tübingen, Germany & Lausanne, Switzerland (2015) – Outreach during Tübingen Fenster für Forschung, “TÜFFF” and Lausanne LS Career day. See here for impression

Maiduguri, Nigeria (2015) – “Bringing fun science to the Nigerian classroom” See published report on Biochemical Society website.

Maiduguri, Nigeria (2015) – Evolving in Life Sciences: Focus on beginner African Scientists.” In this outreach event, students and junior faculty in the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Maiduguri, were toured through the different stages of development in the life of a scientist – from Ph.D. to Principal Investigator; how to search and apply for summer schools, Ph.D. or Postdoctoral positions. They were also introduced to the different models adoptable to African research.

Damaturu, Nigeria (2015) – “Coupling the Foldscope to examine microorganisms” for high school students and members of the public were visited at the Ministry of Works Quarters, Damaturu. The students were engaged with coupling the Foldscope (kindly donated by the Prakash’s lab), following which, different water samples were visualized to identify microorganisms.

Maiduguri, Nigeria (2015) – “Teach the Teachers Workshop.” See published story in Physiology News.

Dar es Salam, Tanzania (2014) – In collaboration with Cambridge Development Initiative, in this outreach, students from Manzese secondary school were introduced to new and exciting ways to perform inexpensive science experiments using open source tools based on 3D printing (such as the 3D printed pipette).

Ilorin, Nigeria (2014) – “Introducing TReND in Africa” at 12th Nigerian Society for Neuroscience Conference. During the Nigerian Society for Neuroscience conference, TReND volunteers gave a talk about TReND activities on developing Neuroscience capacity in Africa, introduced cheap models of Neuroscience research to Nigerian scientists and how they can be incorporated into Nigerian science research.

Ghana (2013) – “Bridging the gap: Introducing Neuroscience to Ghana, This was an interactive and thought-provoking outreach activities for learners at all rungs of the educational ladder – from Primary School, through high school to the university. Participants were engaged in lectures and fun-filled hands-on activities about neuroscience. University level students were also toured through the prospects in neuroscience and related molecular biosciences across academia, industry and health.

Jos, Nigeria (2013) – Neuroscience as a Career Option for young Nigerian Students and Scientists.” This was a mega winter outreach event hosted by al-Hilal High School, where 10 different high schools were reached at once. It focused on career options in science, such as Neurosciences. Discussed the need to have scientists in Nigeria and how to become a scientist.

Ilorin, Nigeria (2013) – The Making of a Neuroscientists.” The event, which was run at Iqra College, Ilorin, introduced students to Neuroscience, debunked Neuromyths and introduced students to hands-on activities on dissection of the rat brain and measurement of electrical activity of the cockroach’s leg using EMG Spikerbox.

Ibadan, Nigeria (2013) – “The Brain! Who We Are.” The event was run at Abadina Grammer School, Ibadan, to introduce students to the brain, and how it becomes affected by diseases.

Damaturu and Gombe, Nigeria (2013) – Neuroscience as a Career Option for young Nigerian Students and Scientists” at Yobe Children’s Academy, Gombe Children and High School and Gombe State Univesity, Nigeria. These were three independent events run in Damaturu (Yobe State) and Gombe (Gombe State), where high schools and a university were reached, to stimulate Neuroscience interest among students and scientists, debunk neuromyths and introduce cheap and affordable approaches to neuroscience research in Africa.

Mbarara, Uganda (2013) – “Neuroscience as a possible career option to secondary school students” during an “A* Masterclass” held at Mbarara University.

Outreach Team

Our outreach team is comprised of scientists from Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Burundi, Ethiopia, Morocco, Uganda, South-Africa, and Tanzania. If you would like to know the contacts representing you country or want to join the team, get in touch.

 

Who runs events

Organized and run by scientists and partnering with different universities, science faculties, and organizations.

Why it is important

In Africa, public education and awareness in science, especially neuroscience, and brain-related disorders is very limited. Widespread basic knowledge about brain-related disorders would help de-stigmatizing them, and thus improve their prognosis, especially in rural areas. Additionally, the continent is in need for neuroscientist and neurologist, for example in the whole of Uganda there are less than 10 neurologists, thus inspiring young students to take a neuroscience career path is of prime importance.

Why it is unique

Our events involve both theoretical and practical (neuro) science training.

Students attend events alongside their teachers which present the opportunity to reach two generations at once and thus to contribute to bettering student-teacher interactions.

Introduce junior scientists to low-cost, and Africa-compatible models of research in neuroscience.

Enlighten decision makers about science in Africa and how it can promote development of the continent

Who do we target

Science and non-science primary and high school students and teachers, university students, junior research scientists and decision makers.

Scalable

Our outreach events are run entirely by African university graduates, many of whom are alumni from our summer schools. By providing training at the top level, we, therefore, leverage the existing potential of local young university graduates to take the future into their own hands to themselves and train the next generation of African Scientists!